The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
The Son of God came from heaven to earth, from the earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky that we might safely lift his name on high. We can become so familiar with this news that we can begin to become blind to its glory. But consider.
Heaven to Earth
The Word who created the world and everything in it, became flesh. He who was with God in the beginning, who was God in the beginning, put on human flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). The Creator entered his own creation, the Author his own story, the painter his own painting, the musician his own symphony. It baffles the human mind to conceive of it; God became a man. He slept, he ate, he laughed, he cried, he died.
Jesus came to us because we couldn’t climb to him. “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man” (John 3:13). We remained anchored to the ocean floor, drowning in condemnation and dead in our sin. Hope was beyond us, outside us. And we awaited a worse fate, that of being cast into a different lake that swelled, this time, with fire. We could not arise to him; he must come to us. And he did.
May we not sing of his coming with indifferent presumption. He came, not just to show us the way but to become the Way — the way to forgiveness, the way to eternal life, the way to restored relationship with our God forever. All was lost, until he came.
Earth to the Cross
They used to believe that if you made an alleged god-king bleed, it proved that he was no god after all. Our God, the only true God at the Father’s right hand, put on flesh and offered up that flesh to be torn and shredded. He bled, and bled a lot.
An unrighteous God bent on military conquest would not have died. A strictly just and righteous God would not have died. Only a righteous God of steadfast love and mercy would have ever ventured the thought for more than a moment, much less execute the rescue mission at such a cost. But our God did just that.
He humbled himself to death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). At first, the thought itself must have been unintelligible to the armies of heaven. But as they peered over the precipice to watch their Lord, whom they had spent ages praising, now perish, what unutterable horror and wonder filled them at the sight of their Creator hanging as a worm on a hook. And why did he resign himself to such a fate? To pay our debts. Here, at last, was the fulfillment of the prophecy: “He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
Cross to the Grave
He died a criminal’s death but was buried as a prince. As was foretold, “They made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death” (Isaiah 53:9). His punishment ended. His shame and humiliation ceased. He would now be honored in his death. He borrowed the rich man Joseph’s tomb. The body had not decayed before it animated again.
The King plunged into our mire and unloosed the very cords of death for his people. He felt the full weight of his Father’s fury against sin and yet would be raised to prove that he accomplished all that he had claimed. To show again that the Son of Man has the authority to forgive sin. The resurrection added the indisputable commentary that sin, death, and the devil had been wounded with the fatal blow. They would not recover.
Grave to the Sky
He left, telling us that it was better than he should leave that the Helper might come (John 16:7). And when he left, he commanded that the heavenly gates be thrust aside so that the King of glory might come in (Psalm 24:7–10). In the throne room of God, the Son ascended and took the scroll that no one else could open, sat down and, with scarred hands, unrolled it (Revelation 5:6–10). There he sits, and there he reigns, the earth now a footstool for his feet.
He will soon return in glory to finally press his heel down on the necks of all his enemies. But in the meantime, we wait. In the meantime, we worship. In the meantime, we lift his name on high.